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Briefs provide the opportunity to submit in writing opinions, comments and recommendations on a subject being studied by a parliamentary committee.
Any individual or organization may submit a written brief to a committee of the House of Commons, even if they are not given the opportunity to appear before the committee. Witnesses appearing before a committee, in person or by videoconference, are also encouraged, but not required, to submit a brief in support of their presentation.
Each committee may set its own criteria for determining whether briefs are relevant and acceptable, and the committee clerk will inform you of the specific requirements, if any. In general:
Briefs submitted to committees become part of their public archives. As a result, they may be provided to the public at the committee’s discretion. The committee may also post your brief on its Web site. In addition, a copy of every brief is retained by Library and Archives Canada.
When a committee drafts a report following the study for which you submitted a brief, the name of your organization or your name (if you submitted the brief as an individual) will appear at the end of the report.
Although individuals and organizations may submit briefs in either official language, they are not given to committee members until they are available in both official languages. Consequently, unilingual briefs must be provided to the committee clerk in a timely fashion to allow for translation.
Witnesses must submit unilingual briefs of ten (10) pages or less usually at least five (5) working days before their appearance. Please consult the committee clerk to confirm the details as well as for information regarding longer or specialized (technical) briefs. Federal departments and agencies must submit their briefs in both official languages.
Please submit your brief to the committee clerk as soon as possible so that committee members have time to read it. Briefs are best submitted electronically to the committee’s e-mail address. Committees’ e-mail and postal addresses are available on Committees Web site.
If your brief is not sent to the committee clerk prior to your appearance, please consult the clerk to find out how many copies to bring to the meeting. If provided in both official languages, copies of the brief will be distributed to committee members and staff and may also be given to others attending the meeting.
For more information on committee business and the process of appearing before a committee, please consult the Committees Practical Guide and the Guide for Witnesses Appearing Before House of Commons Committees.